Mountain Climber Retrospective Format

Itamar Mula
Itamar Mula
Co-Founder, Acumen
Posted on
Dec 11, 2022
Updated on
Apr 13, 2023
Table of Content

What is a Mountain Climber retrospective?

The Mountain Climber retrospective is a fantastic retrospective template that can be used to reflect on your team's journey and take pride in how far they have come. By imagining themselves on the peak of a mountain, team members can gain a new perspective of the Sprint or project. They can also appreciate all the hard work it took to reach that peak and celebrate their collective success.

When it comes to continuous improvement, the Mountain Climber retrospective is an absolute must-have on our journey up the mountain. This retrospective encourages us to use our imaginations and picture ourselves at a great height, looking down on our Sprint or project from a whole new perspective. It's one of those activities that reminds us why we love the journey in the first place: for the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching new heights. Taking a moment to pause and look back at how far we've come is just as important as planning ahead.

So while there's no rest for our weary legs, let's take some time to reflect on how far we've already come and how much further we'll go. Let's embrace the joy of the Mountain Climber retrospective! Together, we can make it to the top!

What are the Mountain Climber retrospective prompts?

The Mountain Climber retrospective is a great way to identify the things that helped your Scrum team's progress. By focusing on the positive, you can keep morale high and continue pursuing continuous improvement. The retro template breaks down into the following parts:

  1. What helped us reach our goal (also known as ropes 🪢)? Things in this category assist your team, and they can be anything, for instance, a new workflow that allows us to release products more quickly.
  2. What stood in our way (also known as boulders 🪨)? In this category you can include the obstacles you encountered unexpectedly or those you had to navigate around. From gaps in communication to the lack of resources, there were plenty of challenges that stood between us and our retrospective goal
  3. How did we feel about our work (also known as temperature 🌡️)? This category represents your team’s mood and feelings about the project, as well as any other things outside of your control such as the weather.
  4. What more do we need to do to reach our goals (also known as first aid ⛑)? The path to success is often a challenging one. As such, it’s important to come prepared with the right resources and tools that can help you in times of need. Ask the team to share what kind of help and support they need to get them through the next Sprint’s journey.

When is the best time to run a Mountain Climber retrospective

When it comes to running a Mountain Climber retrospective, timing is key. It's best to run this retro after big projects that require a lot of hard work and effort. This could include anything from a particularly challenging Sprint or project spanning multiple Sprints, to shipping something your team has prepared for months. 

Running the Mountain Climber retrospective periodically throughout a project can help your team recalibrate and reflect. Your team has been through a lot together, pushing through obstacles and learning from mistakes along the way. Taking the time to pause and look back at all that you've achieved can help you gain clarity on how far you've come since starting out. Think of it like setting up camp at each peak, giving you a chance to rest, reflect, and re-supply before continuing the journey.

By running this retro after big projects, you give your team an opportunity to come together, celebrate successes, and reflect on what lessons can be taken away. Taking the time to look back and assess how everyone was feeling along the way will help your team learn and grow together, so they can tackle the next big project with confidence. 

Final Thoughts

Have fun with this exercise and make sure everyone gets involved. You can combine this with a retrospective tool like GoRetro to efficiently run your retrospectives with ease. With these tools, your team can collaborate and work their way to more productive and successful Sprints. Who knows, the team may even come up with some creative solutions for improvement! Now put on your mountain-climbing gear, and let's start the retrospective. 

Happy climbing! 🧗‍♂️👊🏻😃

About the author

Itamar Mula
Co-Founder, Acumen

I’m an entrepreneur with a passion for agile practices and continuous learning. As co-founder of Acumen and former co-founder and VP R&D of Nextpeer (acquired by Rakuten), I have extensive experience in building and leading successful companies. I’m excited to continue pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the tech industry and driving innovation through experimentation and collaboration with my team.

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